Alan Richardson – Hope – New Zealand Special Meeting – 2018

Jeremiah told to go down to the potter’s house (Jeremiah 18:1-6), and there he’d learn a lesson – the vessel he made was marred, so he made it again another vessel. “Cannot I do with you as this potter, house of Israel?”
31:15-17, a voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children… refrain from weeping… from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded… there is hope in thine end… children shall come again to their own border.
Can you see the common thread – hope. As far as God is concerned, there’s no situation without hope.
Chapter 18, the vessel was broken, no use any longer, but the potter made another vessel. The Lord was making a strong appeal to His people, “I can do a work if you’d only let Me.”
Chapter 31, scripture fulfilled when Jesus was a baby – great weeping for all those babies, but there was hope in the baby Lord Jesus. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of hope, and there’s no hopeless situation.
Proverbs 13:12, the heart – not the physical pump in our body (that sends the blood around), but the biblical “heart” – the center of our being – how we act and think – that makes us what we are. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Desire accomplished is sweet to the soul. We’re sure that everyone here wants to get to heaven. All have a desire, but a strong purpose is needed.
Ephesians 2-12, how they’d been before the gospel. That was our situation at one time, but the gospel of hope came, and it was different when we bowed to God.
Colossians 1:27, Christ in you the hope of glory. Hopeless situation became a situation of hope.
I Peter 1:3, brought into a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 15, Paul writes that when Jesus came, He brought several things. His virgin birth brought divinity, His life brought the light of the world, His death brought forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation to God. Jesus paid the ransom. His resurrection brings us hope beyond the grave, too. Assurance that, at the end of life, it’s not the end at all, but like going through a door.
Eye hath not seen nor ear heard… but God has revealed unto those… Our human minds have limits – we can’t be expected to understand eternity in it’s completeness. But we can have understanding through the spirit of God operating in these lives of ours.
Hebrew 6, two immutable things – hope, like an anchor to our soul. An anchor to a ship keeps it safe in a place of rest. A stabilizing effect. Things that God promised – not an ordinary promise, but very serious, with an oath – to Abraham.
Genesis 14:6, God telling Abraham he’d be a blessing to the world. He’d bless his descendants. I don’t think Abraham understood at the time, but he did in Jesus’ day. “He rejoiced to see my day.” Many animals were offered by Abraham, but he realized his sins couldn’t be put away, until Jesus came. New Testament Christians understood that the true forgiveness was through Jesus Christ.
God wants to do us good. We won’t understand everything – it may be a little different to what we’d expect, but God wants to bless His people. Sometimes people think God wants to take away things from us. There’s some good things in the world, but some very bad things too. Be careful what you look at and listen to. Remember it all has in common – it’s only passing, we have to leave it all at the grave. God wants to take away things of little value and give us things of greater value.
There’s a hymn that says, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years, eternity’s scarcely begun.” Hard for us to grasp. We can spend it with, or without, God.
The second thing – A solemn promise God made to Jesus.
Hebrews 7, you’re a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Melchizidek ruled over Jerusalem in the days of Abraham and was recognized by Abraham as a priest of God. The ministry of Melchizedek was like the ministry of Jesus – if your father was a priest that entitled you to be, also… having no mother or father, having no beginning or end of life. His descent was unknown, like the ministry of Jesus Christ. Doesn’t matter who our father or mother was, to have a part in the ministry of Jesus Christ. The qualification today is for people in whom the work of becoming like Jesus Christ has begun.
Verse 16, not after commandment, but after the power of endless life. The ministry of Jesus Christ is a big source of life. Grace is many sided – represents everything God does for us that we can’t do for ourselves. God sends His servants out to take His gospel message to people. When people listen, God can make it so they listen so it affects their heart. Then God makes people aware of the need for repentance – to turn from wrong to right. A God-given thing – faith.
A condition so that faith will grow. God made provision by Jesus Christ on the cross. It’s all from God really, our part isn’t much really. When we cooperate, that’s our part.
Abraham – called “faithful Abraham.” Most faithful – had hope. When things seemed hopeless, he retained hope. He believed (he’d have a son) and it was deemed to him for righteousness. A momentary lapse that would be a disaster for humanity (Ishmael).
Genesis 17:3, God talked with Abraham, and Sarah was listening next door, and she laughed. She laughed at the will of God, maybe she didn’t realize. Isaac’s name means “laughter” – always that poor woman would be reminded she’d laughed at the will of God, each time she called his name (“come here, Laughter” or “do this, Laughter”).
As far as God is concerned, there is nothing too hard. Abraham – I know him, he will command his household after him… Let’s think of the situation up to now – God wanted a family and tried with Adam and Eve, but God was disappointed. Then in the days of Noah, He saved eight souls, in the hope of having a family, but was disappointed again. Now He’s decided He’d use Abraham. “My friend,” (God said), not Abraham saying it about himself. God talked and Abraham listened, and Abraham talked, and God listened. A close fellowship. Is my fellowship with God close? Or can I make it more acceptable to Him by some changes in my life?
Sodom and Gomorrah – Shall not the God of all the earth do right?
If we can’t understand situations, think, “God shall always do right.”
Chapter 19, God remembered Abraham when He went to destroy those cities, and He sent Lot out. The value of Godly prayers. Faith is important, too. Not a mere head belief, but something that goes to the depths of our heart. A true saving belief is a self-surrendered trust. Give our whole heart and life over to God.
Hebrews 10, the just shall live by faith.
Hebrews 11, all people who lived by, and died in, that faith.
Luke 18:8, when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth? We need to be always ready for when He comes – sooner or later.
Romans 12, the measure of faith. Only one man was granted faith without measure – Jesus Christ. God gives us a measure of faith to see how we’re going to use it, then He’ll give us more. We don’t want to compare ourselves with anyone else. God wants us to be true to the measure of faith He’s given us.
Every virtue we possess and every conquest won, are His alone…….. They belong to Him and He grants them to us.
We have part in a wonderful fellowship of hope, in spite of things that might go wrong.
Faith, hope, and charity. Faith and hope are only needed as far as the grave, but love is needed right through.